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St. Augustine Beach

The ocean shoreline of St. Johns County is approximately 42 miles long. The St. Johns County Shore Protection Project for St. Augustine Beach will renourish eroded shoreline between the southern limits of Anastasia State Park to a point 3.9 miles south of St. Augustine Inlet.

The purpose of the project is to mitigate for down-drift shoreline impacts caused by the Federal navigation channel at St. Augustine Inlet, and provide storm damage reduction for upland development. The cost sharing for this project is 80.5 percent federal and 19.5 percent non-federal, due to impacts of the federal navigation channel to the downdrift beach. The renourishment cycle for the project is every 5 years.

The next renourishment cycle is scheduled for Fall/Winter 2017. Project activities include vibration control and monitoring, environmental species monitoring, and turbidity monitoring.

Frequently Asked Questions

 
  1.  Where is the renourishment project starting?
    Construction will start in early December and will last for approximately three months. 

  2.  How long will the beach renourishment project take?
    From start to finish, it’s expected to take a minimum of about 90 days (weather permitting). 

  3. What are the working hours for the project?
    Construction operations will run 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

  4. How long might temporary structures stay on one stretch of beach?
    During active construction, structures should move an average of more than 500 feet down the beach each day. Work delays will occur when work crews encounter mechanical problems or bad weather.  

  5. How much sand will get placed on the beach by the project?
    The contractor will place approximately 800,000 cubic yards of beach quality sand onto eroded areas. 

  6. Where does the sand come from?
    Sand will be dredged from the federal navigation channel and St. Augustine Inlet ebb shoal. The inlet has been dredged multiple times as a sand source for the St. Johns County Shore Protection project. 

  7. Why does the color of the sand vary?
    The newly dredged and placed sand initially looks a little different than the pre-project beach. Beachgoers might notice that the sand is slightly more coarse and gray. However, the new sand meets specific criteria mandated by the State of Florida for St. Johns County's beaches, including grain size distribution, shell content, and color.  Over a period of a few days or weeks, the sun will bleach the sand until it’s gradually closer to the color people are used to seeing.

  8. Is there access to the beach during the project?
    The beach will remain open to residents and visitors outside the work areas. The contractor expects to temporarily close at least 1,200 feet of the beach at a time during the renourishment project. Public access over the dredging pipes will occur roughly ever 200 to 300 feet. The work should proceed about 500 to 1,000 feet - or two to three city blocks - along the shore each day. Swimmers and surfers are strongly encouraged to avoid the construction area to avoid injury!

  9. Will vibration monitoring occur along the beach front for existing structures?
    Yes.  A local firm is contracted to monitor vibrations from the construction equipment throughout the project.

  10. What can be done about the noise from the machinery back-up alarms?
    Bulldozers will operate 24 hours and the heavy machinery back-up alarms cannot be turned off. The alarms are a safety device required by federal law to protect people from getting hit by machinery when the driver is unable to see directly behind the equipment.  The construction noise is a temporary situation, which is also dependent on wind direction and other weather conditions that affect the way sound is carried.

  11. How can you tell a project is successful?
    Each beach project is engineered to different specifications based on the geography, hydrology and erosion history of the project area. Rare is the project that does not need maintenance over time, simply because projects are done in areas that are eroding and that erosion does not stop simply because more sand is on the beach. Creating more beach protects the upland properties from surf and storms. Also, putting lost sand back into a beach system can make the overall system healthier, because there is sufficient sand to allow nature to move it offshore and onshore without endangering roads, buildings and other manmade infrastructure. In the case of St. Johns County beaches, the project is engineered to last at least five average years.  If there are winter storms or tropical weather, then that reduces the time period; however, the accelerated loss of sand means that property was protected.

  12. How is the beach project constructed?
    The contractor will locate a cutterhead dredge several miles off the coastline.  The dredge will excavate sand, mix it with salt water and pump it to the beach via pipeline. The contractor will clearly mark the pipeline in accordance with U.S. Coast Guard regulations.  The pipeline laid on the beach has a discharge point that releases the material. Here, the material goes through a spreader, which is designed to separate the sand and water, and direct it onto the beach.

    Crews will operate bulldozers to shape the sand and they’ll also direct the water flow down the beach. This process enables the new sand time to settle from the water mixture. Heavy construction equipment will then push the material to shape the beach as designed. The active construction area, from the discharge point to about 500 feet down the beach, will be temporarily closed to the public. The contractor will mark off this area with caution tape and/or construction fencing.  As construction progresses, the pipeline will extend along the beach. To enable access to the water, the contractor will build pedestrian crossovers over the pipe. The crossovers are sand ramps about 12 feet wide, placed over the pipeline in intervals roughly 200-300 feet apart; the pipeline is 3 feet in diameter or less.  Construction activity will occur every day once the project starts and continue around the clock, operations permitting. The active construction area is expected to move along the beach an average of 500 feet per day, and should take about three months to fully complete.

  13. How can I get information about the renourishment project?
    Information can be found on the Army Corps of Engineers website at www.saj.usace.army.mil/St.AugustineBeach and at www.facebook.com/JacksonvilleDistrict

 

Contact

904-232-1381
904-232-1576